17 October 2015

We're on the international stage—for our bigotry

The latest issue of Press Progress includes an article commenting on the attention the Prime Minister's divisive anti-Muslim politicking is getting around the globe.

For instance, The Economist carries the headline "Muslim-bashing is an effective campaign tactic" and goes on to say, "The fuss is a godsend for Stephen Harper, who hopes voters will re-elect him for a fourth term as prime minister—despite their fatigue with his ten-year rule and a weak economy."

A Guardian article headlines "It's not just America: Canadian politicians use Islamophobia to make gains in polls," and comments, "Canadian political and thought leaders, including both politicians and media, seem to be fixated more on the dress of a handful of Muslim women than the tragic loss of over 1000 Aboriginal women." It adds, "This is an issue that was previously irrelevant, especially since reciting the oath is mostly symbolic. In Canada, women in face-covering veils have sworn oaths at their weddings for centuries."

The Washington Post, under the headline "How a Muslim veil is dominating Canada’s election race," states, "There are lots of important issues at stake, including Canada's flagging economy, its role in counterterrorism operations overseas, and the looming specter of climate change. But, of late, something far more insignificant has begun to dominate the conversation: whether Muslim women can wear the niqab, a type of full-face veil, during Canadian citizenship ceremonies."

Esquire headlines an article "What the F*ck Is Going on up in Canada?" with the subhead "Stephen Harper has designs on being a Christian oil sheikh." It goes on to observe, "Harper, of course, having learned all the wrong lessons from the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton years, has been going to Trump University this time around."

British daily the Independent comments, "Faithful ally of Britain in two world wars, peacekeeper to the world, Nato but neutral across the globe, it’s difficult to believe that Canada’s democracy might have come adrift. But the last weeks of election campaigning by Stephen Harper’s ruling Conservative party—with its dark, racist overtones and anti-Muslim rhetoric—suggests that something has gone profoundly wrong with the nation which Winston Churchill once called 'the linchpin of the English-speaking peoples.'"

Considering that we once had a reputation for being a progressive, tolerant sort of place, it is not happy-making to have us discussed in the world's leading newspapers and magazines as a land of bigots. Thank you very much, Mr. Harper.

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